L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Teachers can play the role of activists

Shelley Walia’s article “Ethics of activism and teaching” (Nov 9) threw uncomfortable questions about a teacher’s role as an activist. A teacher, most of the time works on a ”well-defined patch of reality”; while his/her ambit should be much larger. Current events must spark a teacher to inspire and embolden his students. This can be an effective tool of social change.

However, there are hard questions to be asked and one can argue that the line between activism on the one hand and politics and veiled agenda on the other is thin. Undoubtedly, many academicians like Chomsky, Guha and Sarte, to name a few have often championed social causes and traversed areas which could be labelled as uncomfortable and fearful; but for that kind of activism, a dedication of purpose, deep knowledge of the subject matter and a venerated sense of empathy with those affected is essential.

Or else one can easily end up with ‘rose-tinted romanticism’, espousing dangerous causes threatening to cross barbed-wire fences.



The article expresses the author’s concern for the role of a teacher in the context of social emancipation. Education is never neutral. Ethical education aims to serve truth instead of becoming a slave to power. It is, as the author believes, a pedagogue’s duty to act in a manner that is both responsible and revolutionary.

The world today is poised at a critical juncture where change is the need of the hour but people are at a loss regarding a suitable course of action and the authorities themselves are hesitant or perhaps fearful of initiating radical transformation. In this claustrophobic environment it is the privilege of the world’s teachers to usher in an era of ethical freedom by bringing out the best in young minds.

Academia today, instead of being cut off from reality, is influenced by it. The time has come for a role reversal in which academia will shape a new reality according to our new expectations and requirements. Let the teachers gift free thinking and ethical living to their students.

KAMNA SINGH, Chandigarh

Suu Kyi’s release

It is a moment of pride for all peace loving people around the globe that Burma’s iconic leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been set free after spending 15 years under house arrest by the ruling junta. Suu Kyi has been a powerful symbol against oppression who has spent the last 15 years of the 21 years under house arrest.

Myanmar’s ruthless military rulers had imposed severe restrictions on her contacts with the outside world. Her first advice to her people “There is a time to be quiet and there is a time to talk. People must work in unison. Only then can we achieve our goal,” deserves to be commended. Certainly, it is now time to talk.

The winner of Nobel Peace Prize for 1991 and known as ‘The Lady’ in her country, the 65-year-old soft spoken Aung San Suu Kyi has all the courage and the will to take her country out of the clutches of the oppressive junta rule. Her efforts will not go in vain. Democracy is the only form of government, which can guarantee peace and progress for the citizens of a country.

R K KAPOOR, Chandigarh


The true voice of the people of Myanmar, Suu Kyi, has been freed at last due to the adverse public opinion against the military junta which was forced to release her due to the outcry against the sham elections held in the country.  The next natural step now is that the international community must force the military junta to hold elections in the country in the true sense of the word.

The editorial “Free at last!” (Nov 15) has aptly stated that the world community must ensure her safety.

AMAR JIT SINGH GORAYA, Griffith, NSW, Australia

Analysing handwriting

The middle What about your handwriting? (Nov 15) by Roopinder Singh was interesting. Handwriting is unique to each individual and its analysis is a fascinating field. In fact, handwriting analysis or graphology is the science involved in producing a personality profile of the writer by examining the characteristics and strokes of an individual’s handwriting.

It seems impossible but a trained graphologist can gather an astonishing amount of information about the writer just by analysing the handwriting. Besides creating a complete personality profile, many other things are revealed in handwriting, such as health issues, morality, past experiences, hidden talents, mental problems to name just a few. Today computer has solved many problems of writing like correction of spellings, grammar and even fragmented paragraphs.


Decline in Army values

It is pointed out in the articles (oped defence, Nov 12) that the crisis of morality in the Army is not an overnight phenomenon. Such corrupt practices prevailed earlier too but did not get the due adverse publicity as is happening today. To further substantiate this argument it is pointed out that before India got Independence the British applied Indian Army Act of 1911, on the personnel of the British Indian Army.

On attaining Independence the Indian Army Act of 1911 with minor modifications was replaced by the Army Act of 1950. The sections dealing with major issues like corruption and morality of the Army Act 1950, have been taken from the Indian Army Act of 1911. Thus the threat of corruption and immoral conduct by the Army personnel existed then or possibility of such corrupt actions and immoral conduct taking place in times to come was foreseen by the framers of the military law.  As prior to the Independence, the senior ranks in Army i.e. Brigadiers and above were held by the British, their misconduct of moral turpitude never got highlighted to the same degree as that happens now. This, however, does not mean that moral values have remained the same.

There is a definite decline in the standards of morality of the defence personnel and something concrete has to be done to arrest the decline. The defaulters need to be meted out exemplary punishment. If need be the requisite provisions of the Army Act of 1950 should be suitably amended to punish those found guilty.

Brig VK SHARMA (retd), Chandimandir



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |